|Walls of Memories 2003|
|A site specific art event in and around an open well using installations, dance and photography at Visthar campus located in the outskirts of Bangalore, Dodda Gubbi, 15 kms from M.G Road.|
|Participating Artists : C F John, Tripura Kashyap and Azis T.M|
An unused car can be dismantled and sold as spare parts.
It might sound absurd to ponder over a form which has lost its purpose and abandoned by all once connected with it, be they plants, animals or people. When people walk by whatever they find around they throw into the dry well. Fused bulbs, emptied liquor bottles, plastic bags, stones - are all flung into this space. People either enjoy the fall of things or consider everything thrown into it as gone out of vicinity forever. Or is it a playful enactment of the fear of an anticipated fall, the leaf or stone symbolizing the self?
Open wells have been central to most
civilizations for thousands of years and have served as private as well
as collective spaces for communities living around them. Now, these wells
are becoming history, and vanishing with them is a cosmology that they
represent. There are around 30 wells in and around Naryanpura village
in the outskirts of Bangalore. Among these now only 3 have water through
the year. In the whole of Kothanur Panchayat which included Narayanapura,
the last well was dug over 20 years ago.
the preparatory phase of the art project 'Walls of Memories', three of
us, C.F. John, Tripura Kashyap and Azis T.M interacted with the community
of Narayanpura to understand better their relationship with wells. They
spoke of wells they had dug, wells drying up, bore-wells replacing wells,
ground water levels receding, and of the changing professions and life
Today the dry wells have become garbage
bins of mythical proportion. They appear like symbolic of our times -
of the human mind accumulated with decadent thoughts.
We realized that the well was
a powerful, dynamic container that stored and reflected memories and feelings.
Wells served as a major element in defining identity of the people in
the village. Socially, culturally and symbolically, a well as a space
and it's water connect life physically and metaphysically. Even if the
well had died a physical death, it was still rooted in the community's
of Memories' is a site specific art project in and around an open well
using installations, dance and photography. Three artists, C F John, Tripura
Kashyap and Azis T.M, have collaborated in this project which is scheduled
to culminate with an art event on 7th and 8th of February 2003. The site
is situated at Visthar campus located in the outskirts of Bangalore in
the village Dodda Gubbi, 15 kms from M.G Road.'Walls of Memories' is a
project of Visthar, supported by India Foundation for the Arts.
The well and us
Each well we saw in and around Naryanpura had a unique identity with different landscape, mood, energy and light. Some frightening, and some inviting. They stirred in us both existential and symbolic realities. At one level there was the primordial fear one had while looking at the space. Yet at another level, there was the sense of a dream, like when a leaf fell at a mesmerizing pace into them.
The dry well has a presence of its own at the same time is a memory presented. The well at Visthar demanded a creative weaving between itself, the art, and us, the artists. We employed characteristics of the structure of the well in conceiving the art works: the depth, the play of light in the well's darkness, the steps leading down, the scale of the structure, the body's gravity, the empty space etc.
Along with this, were aspects of viewing into the well - seeing reflections on water and the mysteries of space, where the time melts, interweaving playfulness with fear, memories and dreams with the present, and shadows with the body. At another level, unlike horizontal viewing, the structure of the well directs its own kind - looking down into it or looking up from it. These abstract yet important elements of the well find new translations through our installations, dance and photographs.
In the 30 ft space from the ground to the floor of the well, every moment of our working oscillated between the gravity of the body and the realization of everything that is vanishing - the end of matters that mattered. Hence working on every form was an attempt to explore the enigma of our relationship between what we are and that which is disappearing, between what is present and what is absent.
Collaboration has been the essence of this journey. Initially, each of us shared personal experiences, ranging from ecological, socio-cultural dimensions to symbolic and artistic reading of the well.
We saw this primordial site as a defined space in many frames. Yet, body movements in juxtaposition with placed forms and objects brought in more possibilities for installations and photography. In photos of the well enveloping the bodies and placed forms one could almost conceive an instant choreography. Images in several photos were linked transitions the dancer had not been conscious of while performing.
The well has functioned as a
laboratory for art, where we experimented with fusion of
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